Crispy on the outside yet warm and gooey and on the inside, these mouthwatering Yaki Onigiri are filled with a light yet satisfying filling: creamy avocado, protein-packed surimi, and crunchy vegetables. You’ll need to make plenty extra, otherwise, these irresistible appetizers will be gone before you know it!
In small bowl, combine surimi, avocado, carrot and green onions. Set aside.
Cook rice according to package directions. Stir 2 tbsp rice vinegar, sugar and salt into cooked rice. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Using wet hands, flatten 1/3 cup cooked rice slightly; place 1 tbsp filling in center. Shape rice into ball, enclosing filling. Repeat with remaining filling and rice.
Heat 2 tsp oil in skillet set over medium heat. Fry balls in batches for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Brush rice balls with 2 tbsp soy sauce; cook for 15 to 20 seconds per side.
In small bowl, combine remaining soy sauce and rice vinegar, honey, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Serve yaki onigiri with sauce for dipping.
Surimi is also known as crab sticks, seafood sticks or imitation crab, and is usually made of Alaskan pollock. Substitute drained, canned salmon or tuna if desired.
Yaki onigiri can be well wrapped, then frozen. Heat for 30 to 50 seconds in the microwave directly from the freezer (do not thaw first).
Jasmine Rice is a popular choice for Asian dishes, not only because it is subtly sweet and adds a hint of buttery flavor, but also because it has a slightly sticky texture. Unlike many of our other Japanese-inspired recipes, this Yaki Onigiri calls for Jasmine Rice rather than sushi rice. This is simply because anything that uses sushi rice would be considered, by definition, sushi.
Yaki translates as cooked over direct heat — it basically includes anything that is baked, broiled, fried, grilled, or roasted in Japanese cuisine. This recipe uses the stove to get a nice crunchy exterior, but if you want an appetizer that requires no cooking, our Spanish Inspired Shrimp Onigiri — a delightful balance of Spanish-Japanese flavors — will be a crowd-pleaser as well!
How does onigiri stay together without sushi rice? By using a traditional sticky rice recipe, shaping them just right, and pan-searing them to perfection! Here are some quick tips to successfully shaping:
-A lot of our recipes can be made with leftover rice — this is not one of them. The rice vinegar, sugar and salt should be added to rice immediately after it’s prepared. Also, the rice should only be slightly cooled; it will be much easier to work with if it’s still warm.
-Keep a bowl of water close. When you notice your hands getting a bit starchy, dip your hands in for a quick rinse.
-Fold the rice from the edges over, top the filling in the middle before rolling.
-Keep everything packed in tight, but you don’t want the ball to collapse, so use the same amount of pressure you’d use for rolling cookie dough to create balls.
-Though onigiri is traditionally triangular, disks are a bit easier to shape. Using your palm, gently flatten the balls to create disks — this will seal all your ingredients together as well as ensure an even cook.
There’s a learning curve, so don’t get frustrated if a couple of your creations crumble — they are still delicious. Munch on any mistakes; you’ll have a picture-perfect tray of Game Day Appetizers in no time!